NCSU outlines appeal process for Mary Easley
Posted July 2, 2009 3:33 p.m. EDT
Updated July 2, 2009 3:44 p.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — North Carolina State University lawyers laid out the process Thursday to hear an appeal from Mary Easley about the elimination of her position at the school. In a letter to Easley’s lawyer dated July 2, Drew Nelson, assistant general counsel for the university, acknowledged Easley’s plan to file a grievance and outlined how it would be addressed.
The letter reiterated the university’s reason for firing Easley. “As you are aware, particular programs that Mrs. Easley was hired to administer … are being eliminated or reduced at NC State due to current of expected economic conditions,” the letter said.
The university's Board of Trustees terminated Easley's five-year contract June 8, ending her $170,000-a-year job as an executive-in-residence and senior lecturer.
Questions surrounding her hiring in 2005 and an 88 percent pay raise last year have caused a shake-up at the school, leading to several top university administrators, including the chancellor, resigning from their posts.
In a letter dated June 10, the chancellor of the university identified economic downturn and the elimination of the program where she worked as the reason for her termination.
In dismissing Easley, interim Chancellor James Woodward made no mention of the controversy over her hiring and salary, writing only that the programs she was hired to administer would be "eliminated or severely reduced."
The issue is a legal matter, and some attorneys have said it is easier to terminate a personnel contract on the grounds of budgetary restraints as opposed to cause.
Easley is not eligible for severance package.
Federal investigators have subpoenaed information about her job in connection with an investigation into the finances and influences of former Gov. Mike Easley.
Documents turned over to a federal grand jury include e-mails showing the former governor discussing a job at N.C. State for his wife.
N.C. State Chancellor James Oblinger, Provost Larry Nielsen and McQueen Campbell, the chairman of the Board of Trustees, resigned from leadership positions at the university amid questions over their roles in her hiring. All three have denied any wrongdoing.